The head of Fox News’ parent company just took a shot at the U.S. president his network consistently defends.
James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox and son of conservative media mogul and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, lashed out at President Donald Trump on Thursday in an email to friends that was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. In the memo, the exec took a stand against Trump after the president’s comments about the attack in Charlottesville, Va., and pledged to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League.
“[W]hat we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people,” Murdoch wrote in his note.
He continued: “I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.”
The comments come as President Trump is increasingly under fire for laying fault for the racially charged violence in Charlottesville on “both sides” and suggesting that some of the white supremacists involved are “good people.”
While several top members of the business community have denounced Trump’s comments, Murdoch’s comments are significant because his family controls Fox News, which showcases the president’s most high-profile defenders. Murdoch is known to have much more liberal politics than his father, who is said to speak with Trump several times a week.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a staff email obtained by THR earlier this week: “We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality.”
Pledging that Apple would donate $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, Cook also addressed Trump’s “both sides” statements. “I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights,” he wrote. “Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”
As several other business leaders took issue with how Trump handled the events in Charlottesville, exiting his business councils, the president decided to dismantle the Manufacturing Council as well as the Strategy and Policy Forum amid the exiting CEOs’ criticism.
Top executives from Merck, Under Armour, Intel, the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the AFL-CIO had all left the councils following Trump’s comments. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in a statement: “We cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism.”
Most recently, Trump responded to his critics in a tweetstorm on Thursday, tearing into Republican critics and defending monuments to Confederate icons. “The public is learning (even more so) how dishonest the Fake News is,” read one tweet. “They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!”
Read the full Murdoch letter below.
I’m writing to you in a personal capacity, as a concerned citizen and a father. It has not been my habit to widely offer running commentary on current affairs, nor to presume to weigh in on the events of a given day save those that might be of particular or specific concern to 21CF and my colleagues. But what we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people.
These events remind us all why vigilance against hate and bigotry is an eternal obligation — a necessary discipline for the preservation of our way of life and our ideals. The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob. I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.
Diverse storytellers, and stories, can make a difference, and that diversity, around the world, is a crucial strength and an animating force in my business. Often times not everyone agrees with the stories and positions that emerge from this, and that can be difficult. Certainly, no company can be perfect. But I’m proud of the powerful art that can emerge, and I’m grateful to all of my colleagues who make this happen. From the potent and compelling narrative of “12 Years a Slave,” to the streets of Pakistan and the bravery of an extraordinary young woman that we saw in “He Named Me Malala,” to name just a few, we’ve never been afraid to help storytellers and artists say important things – hard things, too.
To further demonstrate our commitment, Kathryn and I are donating 1 million dollars to the Anti-Defamation League, and I encourage you to give what you think is right as well. We hardly ever talk about our charitable giving, but in this case I wanted to tell you and encourage you to be generous too.
Many of you are supporters of the Anti-Defamation League already — now is a great time to give more. The ADL is an extraordinary force for vigilance and strength in the face of bigotry — you can learn more here: https://www.adl.org.
My very best to you and with all my gratitude,